Students team up to turn old treasures into fresh water
Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Rwandans4Water takes a unique approach to raising money for a cause that brings fresh water to those in need: a yard sale.
“The main goal of having the yard sale is to raise money and awareness for Rwandans4Water,” Keith Musgrove said. “We’ll take just about anything that people need. Pieces of clothing or furniture would be great, if they don’t have a bunch of holes in them. Electronics would also be great.”
Musgrove is an apartment manager at Oklahoma Christian University and one of the main organizers behind the yard sale.
For those students who may not know, the goal of Rwandans4Water is right in the title: raising money to help dig clean water wells in the parts of Rwanda that do not have access to them.
“We hope that people will see, first of all, how God is working through this organization and helping people,” Musgrove said. “Second, to show how the community of OC is wanting to share that cause with them and help raise awareness.”
This is the first yard sale that Rwandans4Water has organized, but they hope to do another in the future if it works well. All of the proceeds will go to the organization.
Rwandans4Water was founded in 2009 when Rwandan students decided they wanted to make an impact in their home country by helping the residents get clean water. They also go to different places in Rwanda every summer in order to find those who need water the most.
“I’ve been part of Rwandans4Water since I was a freshman,” sophomore Ives Dushime said. “Since I’ve been in it, I’ve been involved in the fundraisers that we’ve had, and I’m currently the fundraiser representative for the whole organization.”
Some of the other fundraisers that Rwandans4Water has done in the past involved selling items that were from Rwanda, such as T-shirts and coffee.
“Rwandans4Water got its start when OC students recognized that there were already organizations like Wishing Well that were going into Africa and helping to give clean water,” Musgrove said. “These students though that since they were already from Rwanda, they should help out. Since then, they’ve really been able to organize and establish a foundation.”
Dushime said that supporting the cause is not just about the money raised.
“When I see students here helping out Rwanda, I learn from it,” Dushime said. “Yes, we’re college students and we don’t have much money. But when you have the heart to give or to help, you can make a difference. Helping doesn’t always mean just giving money. Events can’t run themselves. We need people there to help out.”
Students may not realize how bad the water is in Rwanda; Musgrove said that it’s worse than they might think. And not only is the water bad, but those that have access to it may have to walk anywhere from one to 10 miles to get it.
“Most of the water that the people of Rwanda have to go to is from streams and canals that has tons of bacteria that infect people’s digestive system,” Musgrove said. “That means that people are dying because they have no other choice but to drink it. With Wishing Well and Rwandans4Water building wells, they can dig deep into the ground and pull up clean water that people can drink.”
For students who want to get involved with Rwandans4Water, there are a lot of opportunities. One way is to seek out the leaders of the organization and ask how they can help.
“One thing students should look into is traveling to Rwanda over the summer and help build wells and get to know the people,” Musgrove said. “I really think it would be huge for Americans to get to know the Rwandan people on a person level. Not to just give them money or clothing, but to really get to know their hearts. To get to know what they’re like on a day-to-day basis. It really helps people, especially Americans, to get out of themselves and love others.”
For students who may want to travel to Rwanda, a trip is currently being planned for the last week of May until the early half of June.
“Right now, we have a group of students from OC who are going over to Rwanda with something called the Rwandan Project,” senior Yves Iradukunda said. “One of our goals is to help out Rwandans4Water by helping to build wells, and students are welcome to join us.”
Students involved with Rwandans4Water are very grateful for all the support that Oklahoma Christian gives them. Irandukanda voices thankfulness for all of the people who have helped Rwandans, and those who have touched Rwandan lives.
“It’s what we say – OC is home,” Iradukunda said. “It’s a place where people care and understand that we come from a place that has faced many challenges. And this community has been able to provide help and is making a big difference in Rwanda.”
They are also thankful that Oklahoma Christian has been so accepting of them
“OC really is home,” Dushime said. “People do their best to do all they can to make us feel at home and feel comfortable. And I just want to thank everyone for that.”
The yard sale is Saturday April 20 at noon and donations will be accepted until Friday April 19 at 2 p.m. For questions about the yard sale, they can email Musgrove.
If students have any questions about getting involved with Rwandans4Water, they can talk to Dushime or Thierry Tuyishimire.